Views of Selected Australian Slovenes on the State of Democracy and Rule of Law in Slovenia
Diasporic communities are known to maintain ties to their mother countries and to be interested in the happenings there. This becomes even stronger at times of crisis or major change. Australian Slovenes were most engaged during the time of the democratization and gaining independence of Slovenia. They still remember that time and look at the present situation nostalgically. The empirical part of the paper shows how the state of democracy and rule of law in Slovenia is viewed by (selected) Australian Slovenes after more than twenty-five years since the establishment of an independent state.
KEY WORDS: Australian Slovenes, outstanding individuals, attitude towards mother country, state of democracy, state of rule of law
Diasporas play different roles with respect to their mother countries. There are many reasons that affect their motivation. Political refugees are well known to be more interested in affecting the situation in their countries of origin than economic migrants. At the same time, the ties between members of diaspora communities and their mother countries change over generations. Nevertheless, generally speaking all diasporas become most active at times of crisis. Australian Slovenes were actively involved in the democratisation process and the fight for the country’s independence and international recognition. More than twenty-five years later, the Slovenian community in Australia is no longer so tightly connected with political life in Slovenia. However, they are still to varying degrees interested in the happenings there. Based on semi-structured interviews with carefully selected informants we can generally divide them into three groups. Those that are strictly anti-communist often follow day to day politics, are very unsatisfied with the situation in Slovenia and support right-wing parties. They believe that the democratization process in Slovenia has not been completed and that aspects of post-communist forces are still present in state institutions. On the other hand, those who are nostalgic about communist times also supported Slovenian independence at that time. Interestingly, they do not follow current politics in Slovenia very closely. They too are dissatisfied with the current situation in Slovenia and believe that the democratic institutions are not fully working. But they do not have such clear opinions as to who is responsible. In both cases the second generation is far less interested in political happenings in the country of their parents’ origins, but are mostly connected to Slovenia through tradition, culture and family. The third group consist of modern emigrants from Slovenia to Australia. This group is heterogeneous. They have very critical views on the state of democracy and rule of law in Slovenia, but different opinions as to which parties are responsible. In accordance with modern individual society these topics are not so relevant for their social life as they were for the previous waves of Slovenian emigrants. In all cases it can be expected that they are very unlikely to play any significant role in the future political processes in Slovenia.